Mapping of marine sediments on the Greenland West Coast: contributions of fishers’ ecological knowledge

Helle Jørgensbye*, Susse Wegeberg

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


The rapidly changing climate is pushing the Greenland fishing footprint northwards. With bottom fisheries moving into hitherto unmapped
areas, large knowledge gaps regarding the environment in which the fishery takes place ensue. Mapping sediment in these areas is a time consuming
and expensive task. Recognizing that fishers have considerable local ecological knowledge can help bridge this knowledge gap. A workshop
including ship masters and factory managers on factory trawlers was conducted in order to understand how their knowledge transpired
when mapped. This knowledge was compared to historical data and recent bottom photos to develop a better understanding of the differences
and similarities between the methods used. The fishers had a good knowledge of sediment types; further some fishers expressed that the
topography has changed over time due to intensive trawling. Even though this fishery is undertaken in a high technology environment on
large trawlers, the long-time experience of the fishers can contribute to large scale knowledge of marine landscapes. These results are useful
when mapping sediments in the future and can also provide a basis for further investigations of changing topography due to trawling
Original languageEnglish
JournalICES Journal of Marine Science
Issue number5
Pages (from-to)1768–1778
Publication statusPublished - 2018

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